The little tourist train in Belfort

It’s only a short walk from the town of Belfort to the top of the citadel, and the climb is not very challenging even for someone of my advanced age. But for those with mobility issues, or those travelling with small children, or those who arrive in the middle of a blistering heat wave (la canicule in French), there is an alternative in the form of a little tourist train that starts at the Place d’Armes and goes up to the citadel by some sort of circuitous route through the fortifications.

Little tourist train at the top of the Belfort citadel

This is not the sort of train that runs on tracks, but a string of small wagons pulled by a tractor disguised as a locomotive. I haven’t ridden on one of these little trains since my grandchildren learned to walk properly, but I suspect I will start to appreciate this form of transport as I get (even) older, provided the coronavirus doesn’t get me first.

Looking down at Place d’Armes

From the top of the Belfort citadel you have nice views in all directions, including a look back down at the Place d’Armes, where the train started.

Little tourist train, going back down

Here the little tourist train, nearly empty, is on its way back down the hill.

The nearby city of Besançon has a similar tourist train, but theirs gets more business since their citadel is on a higher hill and the walk up and back is longer.

The number 2 bus at Parant, behind the Belfort citadel

Another way to get up to the Belfort citadel is to take the number 2 bus in the direction of Justice, and get off at the stop called Parant. This gets you quite close to the rear entrance of the citadel.

Cemetery behind the citadel

Also near the bus stop is a military cemetery, with row after row after row of graves of fallen soldiers from the First World War.

Slope behind the Belfort citadel, with fortifications from various centuries

Location and aerial view on monumentum.fr.

My photos in this post are from 2016. I wrote the text in 2020.

See more posts on Belfort, France.

7 thoughts on “The little tourist train in Belfort”

  1. Hi Don, I enjoyed reading your blogs all through the year and I must thank you for showcasing your travel experiences openly to the public at large. Your narration is engaging and keeps me hooked to your stories. I wish you the best of health and festive season. Looking forward to read more stuff next year. Take care my friend:)

    1. Thanks, Vijay. I’m glad you enjoy reading my posts. For my part, I’m always glad when one of your posts pops up on my screen, and I am very impressed with the work you are doing to promote cycling in India.

  2. There’s one of those little trains in Grand Cayman – the wheels are out of round so the train sways like a boat – they call it “Trolley Roger” (like the Jolly Roger)

  3. I love the little tourist trains and drag my husband along on any we find. I like to go through the towns on the train and then when we’re back on foot, we know where to go and how to get there. It’s much more fun than Google Maps.

  4. They have something similar in Key West, FL called the Conch Train. It’s a fun way to get off your feet for an hour and learn more about the colorful history of Key West. Key West seceeded from the United States in 1982. From Wikiepedia The Conch Republic is a micronation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida, from the United States on April 23, 1982. It has been maintained as a tourism booster for the city. Since then, the term “Conch Republic” has been expanded to refer to “all of the Florida Keys, or, that geographic apportionment of land that falls within the legally defined boundaries of Monroe County, Florida, northward to ‘Skeeter’s Last Chance Saloon’ in Florida City, Dade County, Florida, with Key West as the nation’s capital and all territories north of Key West being referred to as ‘The Northern Territories'”.[5]

    While the protests that sparked the creation of the Conch Republic (and others since then) have been described by some as “tongue-in-cheek,” they were motivated by frustrations over genuine concerns. The original protest event was motivated by a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock and checkpoint that greatly inconvenienced residents and tourists.

    The Conch Republic celebrates Independence Day every April 23 as part of a week-long festival of activities involving numerous businesses in Key West.[6] The organization — a “Sovereign State of Mind”, seeking only to bring more “Humor, Warmth and Respect” to a world in sore need of all three according to its late Secretary General, Peter Anderson — is a key tourism booster for the area.[7]

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